Editorial: Defusing hate with healing | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Defusing hate with healing


There’s nothing like a big ball of flame to show that there is more to stopping mass murder than gun control.

While some people are pulling back and forth on the tug-of-war rope that is trying to tie up guns and bullets in fingerprint-locked safes, can someone please find a way to handle the most dangerous weapon?

Menachem Karelefsky, 41, of McKeesport has been charged with arson and attempted murder. New York police say he set fire to the home of a rabbi in Brooklyn on June 13. The blaze injured 13 people, including a 6-week-old baby and three first responders.

Karelefsky’s arm is tattooed with black letters. “Never let go of the HATRED — KILL Rabbi Max,” it reads in part.

Karelefsky, according to sources including the Times of Israel, has been making threats against Rabbi Jonathan Max for years. He claims the rabbi molested him decades ago. Max denies this, and there are no other public accusations.

That might seem to complicate the matter. It does not.

In Pennsylvania, the grand jury report on the Catholic Church abuse poured out the names of hundreds of credibly accused predators. It provoked anger and demanded vengeance. It hasn’t elicited murder. The pain isn’t the point.

Hatred is hatred, and it is toxic and dangerous whether the source is real, indoctrinated or delusional.

The splashy, attention-grabbing crimes like Karelefsky’s fire or the Tree of Life shooting or any of a dozen other explosions of anger and loathing in recent years show how badly we need the other side of the coin brought up in gun control debates.

Yes, we absolutely need more mental health treatment.

The social climate is steeped in hate and rage. We have a million ways to hurt each other, but the critical components are always the same.

Hatred builds a bomb, pours the gasoline, loads the bullets. Rage presses the detonator, lights the match, pulls the trigger.

You can’t outlaw hatred or prohibit rage and expect them not to get darker and colder and more lethal. We have to treat them like the chronic illnesses they are. We have to give people tools to overcome hatred and manage rage.

And that tool is mental health care. People need access to it. People should be encouraged to use it. People should feel free to talk about it openly and honestly and not make it something shameful and secret.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.